William Montagu (judge)

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Sir William Montagu SL (c.1618 – 26 August 1706) was an English judge and politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1640 and 1695.


Montagu was the son of Edward Montagu, 1st Baron Montagu of Boughton. He was educated at Oundle School and admitted at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge on 15 April 1632. He was admitted at the Middle Temple on 22 October 1635.[1]

In April 1640, Montagu was elected Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in the Short Parliament.[2] He was called to the bar on 11 February 1642.[1]

In 1660, Montagu was elected MP for Cambridge University in the Convention Parliament.[3] He was elected MP for Stamford in 1661 for the Cavalier Parliament and sat until 1676.[3] He became attorney-general to the Queen in 1662, holding the post until 1676. He was Treasurer of the Middle Temple in 1663 and Autumn reader in 1664. In 1676 he became serjeant-at-law and was Chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1676 to 1686. He sat on the Bench at several of the Popish Plot trials, and appeared just as credulous as the other judges; but at the trial of Titus Oates for perjury in 1685, under pressure from Jeffreys, claimed that he had never thought Oates a credible witness. He was removed from the bench in 1686 because he refused to give an unqualified opinion in favour of the prerogative of dispensation. He was assessor to the Convention in 1689.[1]

Montagu died in 1706 and was buried at Weekley.[1]


Montagu married:

  • Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Ralph Freeman of Aspeden, Hertfordshire; they he had a son,
    • Christopher;
  • Mary, (died 10 March 1699-1700) daughter of Sir John Aubrey, bart.; they had a son and a daughter,
    • William, married, 29 May 1670, Mary Anne, daughter of Richard Evelyn of Woodcote, Surrey, brother of the diarist, and died without issue in 1690 ;
    • Elizabeth, married Sir William Drake of Shardeloes, Buckinghamshire. [4]



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRigg, James McMullen (1894). "Montagu, William (1619?-1706)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 38. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Parliament suspended since 1629
Member of Parliament for Huntingdon
With: Sir Robert Bernard, Bt
Succeeded by
George Montagu
Edward Montagu
Preceded by
George Monck
Thomas Crouch
Member of Parliament for Cambridge University
With: Thomas Crouch
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Fanshawe, Bt
Thomas Crouch
Preceded by
John Hatcher
Francis Wingfield
Member of Parliament for Stamford
With: William Stafford 1661–1665
Peregrine Bertie 1665–1676
Succeeded by
Peregrine Bertie
Henry Noel
Preceded by
Sir William Drake
Edmund Waller
Member of Parliament for Amersham
With: Edmund Waller
Succeeded by
Edmund Waller
Montagu Drake